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Why Athanasius’ ‘On the Incarnation’ Is Thrilling, Essential Reading


It’s hard to overstate the significance of Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word of God. Athanasius ministered in a time when many Christians believed what we today would recognize as heresy. This embattled saint set himself against a pervasive false teaching, resulting in his exile . . . five times over! In the end, orthodoxy won the day, and we have Athanasius to thank for that.

Athanasius went toe to toe with another influential churchman of his time: Arius. Arius taught, as a popular song of the time asserted, that “there was a time when the Son was not.” In other words, he believed that the Son of God is a created being. Early on, Athanasius saw the profound implications of such a view, implications that struck at the very heart of the Christian faith. If the Son of God is not an eternal being—if there was a time when he was not—then what does that do to the doctrine of the Trinity? It eradicates it. And what, in turn, does that mean for the deity of Christ? Arius’ views implied that Jesus was something less than divine. But in order to secure our salvation, Athanasius argued, the Son of God must be both fully God and fully man. If Jesus was not fully God—if he has not existed as God since eternity past—then our very salvation is undermined. How could the death of Jesus atone for sins if he is not the eternal God?

An important book you’ll actually enjoy

Written just before the rise of Arianism, On the Incarnation of the Word of God lays out Athanasius’ views on the incarnation, a central issue of conflict throughout the Arian controversy. Not only is this work required reading for anyone who takes theology seriously, it’s shockingly readable. Athanasius’ words are truly timeless, and the warmth and passion that permeates the book vividly demonstrate that doxology need not be separated from orthodoxy—indeed, it must flow from it.

You can get this important work for free during the month of April. As an added bonus, we’re giving away the audio version for free as soon as production is completed. If you download the book now, we’ll unlock the audio to your account once it’s complete.

Get Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word of God now!

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Written by
Taylor Jones
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Written by Taylor Jones